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Posts tagged “Digital Art

DIGITALLY PAINTED OR RETOUCHED?

Image of a painted young person

Hi everybody! I know it has been a while since I blogged, but I really have been busy with Photoshop! Major project going through all brushes! So many to choose from and big decisions on which to use. Of course this is a whole other blog on how to sort through this. The portrait image above, by Christopher Campbell at Unsplash, is one that worked nicely with the brushes for the painting effect required in this blog.

Starting Out

Adobe Creative Cloud has Photoshop Daily Creative Challenge videos that are released for Photoshop every few weeks. A couple months ago Sam Peterson, an illustrator and painter, ran two weeks of some really fabulous PS videos. One was called Brushes where he gives you a starter file and walks you through how to create a similar effect as shown above. The image used PS’s Camera Raw, Angled Strokes and Oil Paint filters to begin the painterly process as Sam demonstrates. He also showed how to create a background to match the image to be painted. This photo used a brush called Clay for the background that was in Kyle T. Webster’s India Set he sold for charity (unfortunately no longer available). It is basically a chunky block brush. For a very similar brush, check out the Brix Brush in Kyle’s Summer 2020 brush set or for the brushe, Disastro or Disastro Spatter in his Summer 2021 Brushes, which uses both the foreground and background colors (press harder or lighter to get variations and a cool texture effect). Lots of different brushes were tried before finding a background brush I liked – but then this is half the fun! For info on how to download and load Kyle’s free PS sets, see my Kyle T. Webster’s Photoshop Brushes blog – scroll down to the How To Find His Brushes and Loading the Brushes sections.

The Mixer Blender

Sam gave guidance on what brush settings to use, but it is up to you to find a brush on which to apply these settings. This process is using a Mixer brush to blend, not a Smudge brush which a lot of people call a blender brush. Mixer brushes are a more advanced version of the Smudge. It does not appear Kyle uses Mixer brushes very often for blending as there are only a few in his sets (there are several Mixers in his Megapack Real Oils section will work nicely). For something like digital painting, I would recommend using Mixer Blenders for this exact and complicated blending. The main thing to remember is that the Wet and Load amounts, which Sam sets at 15% to start, can be adjusted “on the fly” to get a more or less painterly effect from the brush. He did not change his Mix and Flow which were both at 50%. Still okay to change if it helps. Also, if a color is needed to be added in, like for a cheek or lips, there are several ways to do this. I find the easiest is to select a regular brush and splash a bit of color in for blending with the Mixer. In another blog I will discuss some of these Mixer points.

One of my favorite Mixer (blender) brushes, and one I used extensively on this image, is by David Belliveau (free download of 4 brushes at the link and also check out his amazing drawing tutorials – link to my blog on David’s technique is listed below). The settings Sam suggested worked fine with this brush (set to 195 pixels). When set to 15 pixels, used David’s settings to do the detail work on the image, like the eyes, lips, and some hair – mainly where the focal point is, after the original blending was done. The larger brush was used to soften down all the other edges other than the eyes and hair by the right eye which were left sharpened as discussed below. As a reminder, once the settings have been added into the Brush Settings panel for the Mixer, save it down as a new brush. Otherwise all the settings will be lost if you go to a different brush and want to come back to this Mixer.

Once a brush is chosen, it was time to paint with the Mixer – Sam seemed to only paint on one layer, but I found it much better to split it up for the different areas being painted. For the right image below, here is a list of some of the layers created – started with a basic once over on the face smoothing the edges like in Sam’s tutorial, then evening out the lighting effect on the next layer, added color to her cheeks, eyelash layer, pupils layer, iris layer, catchlight layer, fixed the shirt on another layer – just duplicated part of it and blended it together, some hair strands added on another, and lips painted. As you can see, it is a bit labor intensive, but the results are worth it. By putting everything on separate layers, corrections can be made really easily. Below on the left is the original image and on the right is the one that looks like a pretty decent retouch – so what makes it look more painterly?

Original and first attempt at painting portrait

Getting the Final Painterly Look

Mainly adding a texture is a key to getting the more painterly effect needed to sell the look. Sam has a texture in the PSD file he provides and several other brushing suggestions are given to get this look. Also using Color Lookup Adjustment Layers, and possibly Gradient Map Adjustment Layers, using different blend modes and opacities gives some nice painterly effects. And do not be afraid to stack several of the same kind of adjustments using different blend modes and opacities. Just remember that usually a Curves or Levels Adjustment Layer must be added on top to bring back some contrast. So this is what was done on this image to finish up the “look:”

  1. Liquify was applied to enlarge her eyes just little and give her mouth a bit of an upturn (this filter is so cool!).
  2. A stamped layer was created and a Sharpen action was run on the image – a black layer mask was applied and just her eyes, her hair strand on the right and a small section of her ear lob were sharpened.
  3. A Color Lookup Adjustment Layer set to 80% opacity was run using On1-Heat Wave LUT – one that adds warmth into the image – any warm one you will probably get this effect. This really filled her face with a beautiful light effect.
  4. Another Color Lookup Adjustment Layer was added and set to 12% layer opacity called Teal Orange Plus Contrast preset (not sure where I got this). It darkened down the blues in her shirt.
  5. Added a Levels Adjustment Layer to flatten down the blacks a little since paintings do not have true blacks in them usually.
  6. Added French Kiss Tableaux Mirage-2 Texture – used a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer clipped to the texture with Saturation set to -100 so only the strokes from her texture show up. The texture was set to Overlay blend mode at 46% layer opacity. (See link to my blog on how to do this below.) These layers were grouped and set to 62% Group opacity – then the Group’s layer style was opened and the Blend If Slider was set to This Layer Black tab split to 0/86 and Underlying Layer White tab split to 121/255 so the strokes showed up just like I wanted them.
  7. Next on a New Layer below the Group file, a brush was created from the texture and used to cover the whole image to give it more of a painterly look – the layer was set to a reddish brown brush color, Color Burn blend mode and 93% opacity. It adds some nice soft canvas looking lines in the image, especially on the face. (See link to my blog on how to do this below.)
  8. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the Group above and the Saturation was increased (+44) and Lightness lowered (-38) to darken down and add more color to the image.
  9. Last step was a final Levels Adjustment Layer – Black tab to 16 and Output Levels black set to 5.

Hopefully you can get an idea what really goes into these digital paintings. And I am still not sure it is really a “Painting” since the original image was used, but it definitely looks more painterly than just a good retouching effect. I still look at it and see places where it could be improved, but it is a learning process. Definitely it took me several hours just to figure out the Mixer blending to get the effects needed. Enjoyed being back and plan on doing this a lot more. ……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:

Where to Find a Good Photoshop Painter – David Belliveau tutorial information

How to Create a Texture Brush to Match a Texture

How to Add Texture to an Image without Adding Its Color (You Tube video link in blog)


WORKING ON DIGITAL PAINTING IN PHOTOSHOP

Digital Art image of a cat at a store door.

Sorry I have not been blogging as much as I have in the past. I have been watching a lot of videos and trying to figure out how to use the Photoshop brushes to actually give a reasonable painterly brush stroke. There does not seem to be much on how to actually do this – only a few digital artists talk about it. I felt like the above image starts to emulate painterly strokes as it might look in Corel Painter, but not sure about if it emulates real media results. (In my Painting Acrylics Digitally – Can It Be Done? blog, I did get a pretty decent acrylic look.) The original above image is from Unsplash by Luca Bravo in Arles, France and was posted in my Beautiful Blue Door Tidbits Blog 3 years ago that used the Mixer brushes. For this blog I have been experimenting to try and get a consistent painterly stroke and finding settings that might work on other brush tips for a similar look. I have listed throughout this blog several free resources for brushes used in the above so check out the hyperlinks. I am also finding out this is a huge subject to cover so I am just addressing a small portion this week.

Creating the Sketch (black outline)

In the above the black lines were drawn in to create the layout of the original image. Used the PS Megapack Inkbox and Kyle’s Clean as a Whistle brush – lots of Click + SHIFT’s to draw straight lines (and it still is not perfect). When drawing a horizontal or vertical line, just keep holding down the SHIFT key while dragging to see how it is looking. This was handy for this image. If needing a more diagonal line, it will not work. When doing regular sketching, I usually use Grut – I Qwillo brush ($1 for all his individual brushes). Nicolai has an enormous number of fabulous brushes on this site (his Cloud set is the best around) . Every Monday there is a free brush of the week to download and is a great way to try out different media brushes. In this case a little richer stronger line was needed. So I would suggest trying different brushes until you get the line effect you need.

Painting Brushes

I have been trying to stick mostly to Kyle’s brushes here that can downloaded easily to try tout if you are using the later versions of Photoshop. For more info on how to download his PS brushes, see my Kyle T. Webster’s Photoshop Brushes blog. BTW Kyle has just released his Adobe PS Spring 2021 Brush set, so give them a try. The Edvard Munch brush set first appeared in 2017 in a 4-part video series called Get Started with Digital Painting Photoshop – they are not part of the PS2021 brushes, but are a free download here at the Adobe Creative Cloud. He found the Munch Filbert Dry Mixer gives a sort of an impasto look. To get the painterly strokes on each side of the door, I liked Kyle’s Munch Medium Flat brush but I did make some setting adjustments. I am using the brushes below to get some nice painterly strokes. I did switch a bit between them to get the right stroke effect on the walls.

The first brush was named SJ KTW Munch-Medium Flat-painting (150 px) and does not have much color variation but does use both the foreground and background colors with Pen Pressure (this means press light and background color appears and hard for foreground color when using a tablet.) Only the settings listed were changed: Texture section – was changed to one I imported from Painter, but the Rough pattern texture (Invert checked) seems pretty close (it can be found in the Photoshop default Erodible Textures set) and setting Brightness to -22, Contrast 57, Depth 19%, Minimum Depth 82%, Depth Jitter 27%, and Control to Pen Pressure; in Color Dynamics section checked the Apply Per Tip and set the Control to Pen Pressure; and in Transfer section set Opacity Jitter to 38%, Minimum to 55%, Flow Jitter 13% and Minimum 74%.

The second brush was named SJ KTW Munch-Med Flat-Painting Var1-try sim colors (175 px) to remind me how to use the brush. These settings were changed: Texture – changed it to same Rough pattern (Invert checked), Brightness to -13, Contrast to 33, Depth to 14%, Min Depth to 21%, Depth Jitter to 69%, and Control Pen Pressure; Color Dynamics changes were to check Apply Per Tip, Control set to Pen Pressure, and Saturation Jitter to 4%, Brightness 4%, and Purity to -20%; and Transfer set to Minimum Opacity Jitter 84%, Flow Jitter 43%, and Min 28%. Also the Dual Brush section was opened and the same brush,130 (size) Kyle munch flat medium1, was selected – should already show a Size of 130 px, Spacing 17%, Scatter with Both Axes checked, Scatter to 202% and Count 1; and finally Wet Edges section checked.

Try changing the Brush Tip Shape Spacing to adjust how much texture is showing up. Below are examples of how the strokes look all using the same foreground and background colors. If you have a different Texture pattern you want to try, go ahead but do adjust the sliders. Just be sure to save any brush variants you like when finished. See if you can get some nice stroke effects for solid areas especially. I would suggest trying a different brush tip (check out the list provided in the Brush Tip Shape section and just select one you like) using similar settings (or the settings from any brush you like). This is a great way to create your own paint stroke effect. I will talk more on this in a later blog.

Finishing Up

The bottom sidewalk and door pane effect was created using Kyle’s India Brushes Clay brush that I purchased recently for only $1 for his humanitarian cause of Covid 19 in India. (Available until May 10th.) All these brushes are great but I especially like the effect of this one. Kyle also has a free Builder Brush available at his website seems to do a similar result.

The other brushes used in this image were from Jessica Johnson and her fabulous Pattern Stamp brushes – I always seem to be using them! What I love most about Jessica is that she gives out samples of her different types of brushes which is always very helpful. This time it was the pattern at the top that was a give-away called 3 Modern Renaissance which included a brush and a pattern. Check out her You Tube video Free Photoshop Brush & Metallic Color Palette: Inspired by Dior Couture – Modern Renaissance to get her freebies (see 4-13-Free Renaissance Brush zip file) – and be sure to sign up for her E-mail to get notified when she has new brushes and patterns to release. In this case the Modern Renaissance was used as a regular brush and painted on in a darker gray color. Also used her Moody Floral Bold pattern stamp brush with her English Garden pattern (TM12) was used for the colorful flowers on the window sill and by the cat. When you go to her freebies for the Modern Renaissance brush, click on the 3-15-Free Brush Mon zip folder which contains the Moody Floral Brush and an accompanying pattern. I just love the flower stroke with this brush.

One of Chris Spooner’s free Subtle Grain Textures (6) was applied to give the wall a bit of a cement feel and tie it in as a building. It was masked off the cat and windows. He has lots of nice free resources at his site. The name plate with instructions are in my blog called How to Create Personal Overlays for Your Images – one of my most popular blogs.

Contour Trick

The large black cat is part of a set called Egyptian Hieroglyphs by Skybox Creative that cost $12. If you check every Monday several items are available at Free Goods of the Week which is how I got this vector cat. To give him the cool contour (like my gray cat Sophie), a Bevel & Emboss layer style was added using an Inner Bevel, Smooth, Depth 230%, Direction Up, Size 68 and Soften 0. Then in the Gloss Contour, the Gaussian contour was selected – then Highlight Mode Screen, White, at 29% Opacity and Shadow Mode Multiply, Black, at 32% Opacity. The Contour was checked and the Contour was set to one by Jenni and I have no idea where I got it. Just play around a little with – it give some really cool 3D effects. The other cat is from a set called Cat Family by teddybearcholla (found in a very old Photoshop Creative magazine). A Bevel and Emboss layer style was also used on this cat, with a Depth of 532%, Up, Size 7 px and Soften 0 – Highlight Opacity set to Screen and 77% opacity and Shadow Mode set to Multiply and 33% opacity. A Watercolor pattern texture was added and set to a Depth of +26%. The layer styles really gave both cat items a fresh look.

Digital Art image of a cat at a store door.

Above is a variation of the same image with just a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer with a Cerulean preset at 25% layer opacity and a Gradient Map set to Overlay at 34% layer opacity that used purple and pink randomized color added. Quite a different look. Eventually I hope to get an E-book or PDF together that can be used as a basic guide to show some of the little tricks the sliders do. For example, did you know that if you put the Shape Dynamics Size Jitter Control (even with no Jitter set) to Pen Pressure, the actual Brush stroke appears smaller. Check the Brush Preview in the Brush Settings panel to see the range between the thick and thin stroke now. There is a lot more to this, but that is just an example showing how the stroke will be different with just one setting change. And the people who do paint digitally use all kinds of different settings to get their brushes to work. In the meantime, I will try to pop in more often! Have some fun trying out some new brushes……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:

ReBlog – How to Use Photoshop’s Brush Texture Section for Painting Clean-up

Looking at the Smudge Tool – Again

How Photoshop’s Color Dynamics Brush Settings Work

What about the Pattern Stamp Tool? Not So Bad!


HOW TO USE A PHOTOSHOP TEMPLATE

Image of template of birds
This week is a reblog from 2016 that shows how to use a template (of mine that can be downloaded at DeviantArt – see link below) to create a fun image in Photoshop. I decided to try a new image as shown above. Notice I did not really follow the template markers, just used them to give me a layout idea and deleted all of them but the top one. The results are very similar to my post of on How To Do a Little Subconscious Digital Art Journaling a couple weeks ago. Lots of fun to do.

My image above used free Graphics Fairy images for the top image and white heron, but the Osprey is mine. The two birds on the Text word are from Watercolor Russian Birds by Anna Faun. The background texture is one I took in St. Augustine of part of a wall at the Castillo de San Marcos fort. The flying birds are from PixelSquid. And now on with the previous blog. Have a great week!

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Template showing various imagesLast week I covered using templates in Lightroom to display your images. (See my How To Use Lightroom’s Print Templates to Display Your Images blog.) This week I am using Photoshop and a template I created a while back that shows another way to display your images and objects. Any template that can be opened in Photoshop can be used, I just like this particular the photo arrangement in this template. Here is the link on my Deviant Art page where my SJ 5 Opening Template can be downloaded if you would like to use it. This blog is just discussing how to use a template in Photoshop. (See my Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine Blog for steps on how to create this template.)

In each of the two images I selected a color scheme and added texture and natural objects to the mix. When you open the template in Photoshop, you will find a white Background layer and 4 black blocks where images and/or objects can be placed. In most templates, this is what you will find – black or colored boxes where the images are to be placed. For each layer with a black block, an image or object was placed above it. The crucial step is this next step – the image was clipped, which means the image was linked to the black block and showing up just in the black box area, not outside that area. There are several ways to clip the image or object layer – can go to Layer -> Create Clipping Mask, or use the shortcut keys ALT+CTRL+G on layer, or right click on layer and select Create Clipping Mask from list, or my favorite, just ALT+click between the two layers to be clipped. Very easy! Next using the Move Tool (V), the image was dragged to fit in the location just right. If it does not fit correctly, go to Edit -> Free Transform or CTRL+T to adjust the size. The top version contains little images I painted or just some of my favorite clip art. For the starfish, a vintage texture was added behind it (all clipped to the black block as more than one layer can be clipped at a time). The background texture was added just above the white Background Layer and only a portion of it was used. It can be transformed and different Adjustment Layers can be added to the texture to match the template pictures. To get the line around the openings, be sure to add a Stroke Layer Style on the black block layers to get the same treatment for each, not the pictures. To copy the Layer Style to another layer, just ALT+drag the fx letters to the new layer.

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Template showing several images and objectsThis image uses the same template and same workflow as used above. Just found some interesting objects and one of my painted trees. Again, just clipped them to the black block layers, added one of my painted textures underneath (texture was created in PS using Grut’s Inky Leaks Brushes which are wonderful). No strokes were added to the black boxes in this image. This time Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Texture Effects’ Dingy Cream preset was used with a few changes to give the interesting border. On a New Layer, some texture was painted on the image (see Just Jaimee Summer 2012 Brush Sampler 4) to finish up. Sometimes painting on a little extra texture adds a nice touch.

That was it. The trick to using Photoshop templates is to clip the images to the openings. If you just want the layout without using the block, just add your objects on top, then once placed, just remove the black box layer. Just remember that and it will be very easy – maybe easier than Lightroom. And there is more leeway for creativity with all the cool templates out there that can be downloaded many times for free. That’s it for this week – have a great week and chat at ya soon!…..Digital Lady Syd


HOW TO DO A LITTLE SUBCONSCIOUS DIGITAL ART JOURNALING

Image of Digital Art Journal showing the Man in the Moon
Sorry I missed last week – just got way behind with all the fabulous webinars and videos everyone is making. In fact, the above is the result of listening to five videos presented by Design Cuts on journaling and scrapbooking. I have never done either too much, so it was kind of fun to try it out.  Thought I would have a little fun this week and share some of what I learned.

The video that particularly got me interested was called Basics of Digital Art Journaling by Tangie Butler. Tangie pointed out that Digital Art Journaling is a little different from scrapbooking or collage, which I have done a few times before. (See some of my related blogs at end.) She says “it has some sort of meaning or symbolism that is an expression of your thoughts and feelings in your life right now.” What I found fascinating is how you do this. Just start moving different files into an another image open on your computer. Use whatever items fit your mood at the moment – they will stack as layers in your extra document. Tangie says it is your subconscious coming up with all the items. I thought I was just pulling several of my favorite objects into the document to use. But then I tried to figured out what my image was saying: Possibly that I want to get my bicycle tires fixed, there are deer in our neighborhood (and I love to photograph animals), I really like Mystic, Connecticut, and Astronomy is my favorite hobby behind Photoshop. That was a little subconscious coming through I think. Hum!

Resources

The image above used 28 layers and was filled with lots of Hue/Saturation, Curves, and Color Lookup Adjustment Layers. It used a couple textures and several objects. If you want to find some great free resources for your journaling efforts, go to The Graphics Fairy and the Old Design Shop. Both have lots of old signs and vintage objects – you may need to remove the white backgrounds by selecting the Color Range command in most cases. I love the Man in the Moon on the image above which was from Graphics Fairy. Also Deal Jumbo has lots of free items every week to download so get on their mailing list. Design Cuts is great and have just about everything a creative could use in Photoshop, including lots of freebies. Do not forget some of the great scrapbooking sites also – they have some nice inexpensive sets, but watch out for the usage copyright rules, many are for personal use only and cannot be used on the internet. My favorites are Pixel Scrapper and E-Scape and Scrap, who has giveaways in their newsletter all the time

A Few Digital Art Journaling Tips I Learned

  • Using Layer Styles, especially Drop Shadows and Strokes, and the Blend If sliders, especially the Underlying Layer white tab, can make for some nice grungy looking text. A small shadow or stroke can really make an object pop and try different colors for them.
  • Just painting on a layer can make a huge difference – try using splatter brushes or watercolor ones. Kyle T. Webster has included a bunch of specialty brushes with Photoshop so this is a good place to put them to use. And GrutBrushes has great Photoshop brushes (check out his free brush every Monday and free his Sampler Brush Set).
  • When working with so many layers and using the Move Tool, be sure to check the Auto Select and Show Transform Controls in the Options Bar. It can get very frustrating trying to find the needed layer quickly.
  • If you keep selecting the wrong layer (or if PS jumps to a different layer thinking that is what you want), just click on the object, the Transform Lines should show up around it – then press the CTRL key and it will let you move or transform the correct layer now. This I found very helpful.
  • If you need to resize or stretch an object, instead of just placing it into your image, open it up in Photoshop and make it a Smart Object – then resize, save and move it into your journal page. It keeps the sharpness of the object.
  • When you do a Layer Style and want to do some more things to the layer, exit the Layer Style, add a New Layer either above or below this layer, highlight both layers and press CTRL+E to merge the two layers. Now you can make changes easier and do more things like changing the blend mode or do another Blend If.

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Image of a Digital Art Journal of Spring in FloridaThe digital art above was all about Spring – I wanted to do lots of plants but these darn seals (or maybe these guys are Sea Lions) just sort of showed up in some nautical clip-art and I could not say no to them. (How they got into my subconscious I do not know!) I did not know seals were in the Bahamas (one of my favorite places to sail), but the text behind them is from a book published in 1731 and says they were – I think of them in Monterey, California (where I used to live). So that must be why they popped in. Otherwise the other objects are sort of how Florida looks to me right now. The Pelican, the Dolphin, fish on the beach and Hyacinthe (one of my favorite flowers) are all doing their Spring thing without a worry like the rest of us. There were 35 layers in this document.

To learn more, check out other You-Tube videos by Tangie. This was a fun mental exercise to try. I think one of the most intriguing things about this technique is that it dives into your unconscious. I did not believe it until I attempted these two images. There was a Photoshop Virtual Summit a week ago and I have a lot of new stuff to review. I will try to get a blog on some of the new things I have learned together shortly. Have a good week and stay safe!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Pseudo Scrapbooking
Enjoying Some Spring Butterflies
A Victorian Visit
How to Create Personal Overlays for Your Images


CELEBRATING 8 YEARS OF BLOGGING!

Celebrating 8 Years of Blogging bird imageJust realized this weekend that I have been posting at this site for 8 years! Thought I would put up a little image I worked on this week of 3 little sparrows – they seem to be in their very colorful costumes so here they are to help me celebrate! I have to laugh when I think about my first blog – I thought I was really doing something. (See My First Post – Painted Oleander blog) Over the years it has evolved and has become something I look forward to creating. It has also been a great way to really learn Photoshop – would recommend it if you like to write. And now doing videos really steps up how to present the information and new challenges. I will continuing to add more videos over the next year. I still plan to stay on top of the new plugins and Photoshop update which I always so much fun to try out.

Actually I was practicing painting (which oddly enough my first post was painting with Mixer Brushes in CS5) – have to do this to stay good at it. Decided to brighten them up a bit to make them look a little more interesting and friendly. Basically followed my standard workflow: Paint a flat primary layer, then Highlights and Shadows layers, some fur or feather layer, blending with the Mixers and Smudge brushes layers, and last step to add in anything that needs to be done to finish up the image. The background is one I painted in Corel Painter. The balloon from hanging air balloon free mock up is from Deal Jumbo and used Gavtrain’s Instant Confetti Action. Applied a speech blurb and a couple text layers. That was it.

Hope everyone is still enjoying my blogs and finding them useful when needed. It has been so much fun to share all the great Photoshop techniques I have learned over the years. Hopefully I will still be blogging for another 8 years!…..Digital Lady Syd


LEARNING TO DRAW A WOLF!

My drawn image of a Wolf on the HuntThis image of a wolf took me several days to complete! I am not exactly an expert with drawing, but I followed a rather lengthy tutorial by Aaron Blaise and it came out looking pretty good. (I actually had to start over as it looked wrong to me on my first attempt.) Of course, it is not as good as his, but considering I have very few skills here, it was really fun to create something I like! That is why I am passing this on in my blog – if I can do this, you can do this!

Aaron Blaise is one of my very favorite illustrators and I have been following his blog for several years now. He worked for Disney Animation for a long time on many of their great movies (The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, and more). He has several videos on YouTube and many reasonably priced lessons on his website. The Youtube video followed here was called How to Paint Fur-Photoshop-Wolf Portrait. What I really liked about the video is that he breaks the whole process down into several sections (and layers) so it is easy to understand how the image is actually going together. He starts off with teaching how to draw a rough sketch of the wolf, continues on with refining the drawing, adding color, then shadows and highlights, and finally adding the fur textures. I felt like I learned a whole lot and this is just from a YouTube. Below is what the drawing looked like after finishing up the tutorial, and it sort of looks likes his since I followed the steps pretty closely. In this case I would watch for a few minutes, then try to do what he was doing – this is a great way to learn how to do this.

My Drawn image of a wolfI liked how this image turned out too. There are lots of techniques Aaron shares on how to get the fur looking natural. One thing I did want to say is that you have to decide on a few favorite brushes and stick with them. It took me quite a ways into the video to decide which ones were giving me effects similar to what he created. A couple of his brushes I had, but they did not look right to me – he is using a Cintiq and I am using an older Wacom and it did seem to make a difference on how the strokes looked. I ended up creating a set of ABlaise Painting brushes to use and started by adding in just a soft round brush. He has a “go-to” brush that he always uses, but it seems too organic for me. For the actual drawing, my “go-to” brush is Grut’s I Qwillo brush – got used to it and always use it. Then for the local color and fur, a brush tip of one of Aaron’s brushes was used. Not sure which brush but it is basically a very solid color with Size 35 pixels, Opacity 100%, Opacity Pressure icon on, Flow 83% and Smoothing 10%. It was reduced down in size for the fur and and seemed to work pretty good. To get the ends pointed for the fur, the Pressure for Size was also turned on. It takes a little experimenting and several brushes were created to fit all the strokes he is teaching. He also talks a lot about values and how to light your subject – very interesting and practical since you can watch as he creates the lighting effects – the drawing sort of just pops! The last several minutes he is teaching how to finalize the image to make it look less drawn and more like an image.

One of my Corel Painter textures was added to the top image a couple times, set to Linear Light blend mode where the Fill slider was adjusted, and parts were brushed away in a layer mask to get a more artistic effect. It gave it that cold look that makes me think of wolves. It was so much fun to do this project, but it did take time. I would recommend you trying it if you have an interest in drawing animals and even if you do not – Aaron teaches a lot of little tips and tricks. It was a great way to stay inside when it is so hot and rainy! I am going to try to do a different one soon. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd


PSEUDO SCRAPBOOKING

An image called RivetingThis week I think I am still on a Summer Brain Vacation! Decided to just play in Photoshop and figure out what to do with some of the wonderful add-ins that are available. Not sure what to call this kind of graphic art so I am making up the name “pseudo scrapbooking” – I do not consider myself a scrapbooker (many scrapbook artists do some incredible work that I have never attempted) and there are no personal images applied. I just tried to emulate a touch of this venue by applying some of these products which improved my skill set and was a lot of fun. It also gave me a chance to work on extracting objects, creating brushes for backgrounds, adding text, and creating some interesting composites. So that’s what I did this week!

The above image just started as a small 7″ X 5″ document at 300 ppi. To begin, a texture brush was used to add some wirey looking lines in a turquoise color on a layer. Then a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer using a free Square Geometric Patterns from Deeezy (these are really interesting patterns) called Square Geo 06 was selected and the layer was set to Subtract blend mode at 80% layer opacity. I also follow Design Cuts and Creative Market – see links below in paragraph. They often contain some wonderful objects that can be used in all kinds of projects and several of these items were added into this image. Creative Market offer for free a small set called Watercolor Clipart Unicorns from Corner Croft – one of the unicorns was selected and his horn removed so he looks like a regular horse. He was set on the slope of the geometric pattern. Also from Creative Market, a shell from Aloha was used and set to 89% layer opacity. The paw print was from Design Cuts Pet Shop Flyer freebies. The bird is from Nicky Laatz at Design Cuts and the pink flower clover is from Peolia at Creative Market. Many of the Creative Market sets are offered free for only for a week and then are added to larger sets. If you sign up for their newsletters, every Monday they send out these free downloads – really a good deal. Same with Deal Jumbo and Deeezy – they offer free fonts and small sets every day in their newsletters. Design Cuts usually offers their freebies on Fridays or when they do a tutorial using some of the items in the bi-weekly items sets they offer for sale (these are usually incredible deals for what they are worth). Two of Grut’s Inky Leaks brushes (these are fabulous spatter brushes) called Split Stain  for the rough edging and Flick Tub around the bird. And don’t forget, each Monday Grut offers a new brush to try out for free so check it out! A Color Lookup Adjustment Layer was added using the Futuristic Bleak preset. Then a Creative Market action called Goicha from Cinematics 21 was used on the image. This contains five Adjustment Layers to adjust the color of the overall image. The font is called Angelic War. The last step was to create a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top and apply Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle’s Wedgewood Blue and Tan preset as is at 70% layer opacity. Hopefully you will get a chance to check into some of these resources and get some nice items for your PS practice.
Image of My Magical OceanHere is another example of just having a great amount of fun in Photoshop! This actually started with a beautiful flower image from the Harry P Leu Botanical Gardens in Orlando, Florida. The flower was extracted using the Select and Refine command. Then I just started playing. I had no idea it would turn out being an underwater fantasy world! I like the story that the Tang and the Water Monster Flower create – and I think the shark is watching out for his Tang buddy. The background was created from five 2 Lil’ Owls (for website link, see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Textures all placed in a group. Some solid color blue and yellow color were painted on separate layers behind the swimming fish (brushes from a small but really nice set by Richard Tilbury) and bubbles created using just a small spatter brush. The Clown Tang, Shark, and Seahorse are all from PixelSquid, one of the best sites for very realistic looking and fun objects. (See my How to Use the PixelSquid Add-on in Photoshop blog.) So this really creepy looking plant turned Water Flower Monster was created by taking my beautiful extracted flower image into the Liquify Filter and just pulling and pushing it all around. I was surprised how it turned out! I think I used every tool and it was fun to try them at different sizes on the edges. On a layer above, a sketch brush was used to enhance the lines in the flower for for a more fish-like effect. The same thing was done with the turquoise seaweed on the bottom – it was painted using Prism Light Studios Spiral Brushes-Tie Dye Brushes – Full Spider brush (was a free brush from Creative Market). Then this layer was also taken into Liquify and stretched and twisted to get this rather unique look. Several adjustment layers were added on top for contrast and color. It was just totally fun to create!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer – it is so hot here in Florida that it is more fun to stay inside and play in Photoshop. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd